These Times Call for Courage
How should we respond to the deceptions, hostility, madness, and challenges to Christianity in our world today? BE COURAGEOUS!
Man in the Mirror
President & CEO
What is Courage?
C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” We are certainly at a testing point.
All around us, Christianity is being challenged. As Aaron Renn has said, while Christianity at one point was viewed positively, and then neutrally, it is now viewed negatively. As he wrote:
Negative World (2014–Present): Society has come to have a negative view of Christianity. Being known as a Christian is a social negative, particularly in the elite domains of society. Christian morality is expressly repudiated and seen as a threat to the public good and the new public moral order. Subscribing to Christian moral views or violating the secular moral order brings negative consequences.1
Carl Trueman, author of The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self, and its companion, Strange New World, further points out the obsession our modern culture has with self-determination. “The sovereign self is the psychological equivalent of democracy,” he writes. “It functions on the assumption that what I feel is me and that what I will is what is right and good.”2 To put it another way, my feelings are who I am, and what I want to do is always right and good.
To argue against this mindset is dangerous in today’s world. To tell someone that their feelings are not valid or true is the ultimate form of bigotry. It’s the denial of someone’s “own truth.” To question someone’s motives is to insult them at the core level.
When the World is Upside Down
So when it seems like the world has gone crazy (e.g., people saying that up is down, black is white, or good is bad), how do we respond as Christian men? At the end of 1 Corinthians, Paul exhorts the believers: “Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong. Do everything in love. (1 Cor 16:13 NIV)3 Paul’s words are a guideline for us as men living in this difficult culture.
BIG IDEA: We are called to be courageous in the face of life and the world’s challenges.
At the core of this directive is courage. To be courageous, you must be vigilant (on your guard) and firmly rooted in the gospel (standing firm in the faith). And courage is exercised in godly strength and abiding love. As godly men, our stand for the gospel is a stand for truth. But we must understand the truth itself is under attack. The truth of the Spirit of God is “folly” to the natural man, (1 Cor 2:14), and the wisdom of this world is “foolishness” to God (1 Cor 3:19). In other words, you’re going to have to pick sides.
So brother, what will you choose? Will you follow the winds of culture and its ever-changing definitions of morality, truth, and goodness? Or will you follow Christ and his word? When all others around you contradict what the Bible teaches, will you take up your cross and stand for God’s truth? Again, to quote Carl Trueman, “We are all creatures of our culture, but Christians are called to be creatures of the Word of God.”4
1 https://www.firstthings.com/article/2022/02/the-three-worlds-of-evangelicalism, accessed April 24, 2022
2 Carl Trueman, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020), 34.
3 Interestingly, the ESV translates “be courageous” as “act like men.”
4 Carl Trueman, “The Importance of Being Reformed,” Reformation 21, October 10, 2014, https://www.reformation21.org/blog/the-importance-of-being-reformed.